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Joining God's Family: A <em>FaithLaunch</em> Family Time

Mission Control: Where You're Headed

You'll help your child see that God wants us to be part of His family — and that because of Jesus, we can.

1. Blast Off: Getting Started

What you need:

  • treasure hunt clues on sticky notes (see below)
  • a picture of yourself
  • small prize

Before Family Time, set up a "treasure hunt" with clues for your child to follow. On each clue, include not only the hint or directions to the next clue, but also a brief note telling your child how much you love him or her.

If you can tie the love note into the location, that's even better! For example, "I love reading with you. Go to our favorite reading spot," could lead to the chair you sit in together when you read to your child.

Have the last clue lead to the "treasure": a picture of you.

Follow your child during the treasure hunt, helping with clues and collecting them. When you reach the treasure, ask: What do you think of this treasure?

Chances are your child will be a little disappointed — especially if he or she was expecting candy or money. Reach into your pocket and produce another treasure — a prize like a dollar bill.

Ask: What do you think of this treasure?

Your child may be more enthused about the prize than about your picture. Say: This picture stands for me. If you didn't have this treasure [point to yourself] would you have this one [hold up the prize]?

Give your child the prize. Explain that there are two kinds of treasures — the people who love us, and the things those people give us because they love us. We need to remember not just the things, but the people, too.

Alternate Flight Plan: Options for Ages 8-12

Most older kids like treasure hunts, too. To keep it fun for your older child, make the clues more challenging. Include rhyming or visual clues — even math problems.

Here's an example: "You'll find the next clue in a 3.14159265 pan." The answer: "Pi (pie) pan."

2. Exploration: Discovering Truth

What you need:

  • Bible
  • the clues from your treasure hunt
  • sticky note
  • pen or pencil

Show your child the notes from the treasure hunt. Ask: Why do you think I wrote these to you?

Your child may give any number of responses; here are some possibilities, along with ways to tie them into the truth that God wants to have a relationship with us.

  • "You wrote the notes and clues because you're my mommy/daddy."

That's right! So I wrote you notes to tell you that I love you. God is your heavenly Father, and He loves you, too. Did you know that He wrote you notes to tell you He loves you? They’re in the Bible.

  • "You wrote the notes and clues so I could find the treasure."

Yes! I wanted you to find the treasure because I love you. God loves you, too, and He has an even better treasure for you — eternal life with Jesus. He wrote to you in the Bible to tell you how you can have that treasure.

  • "You wrote the notes and clues because you like to read with me [or whatever you might have written in a note]."

I do like to read with you! I like being with you. God likes being with you, too. He even wants us to come live with Him forever someday.

Open the Bible to 1 John 3:1a and read it aloud.

God wants us to be part of His family! Because of Jesus, we can be God's children.

Ask: Do you know what Jesus did that made it possible to be God’s children? After your child responds, confirm or clarify his or her answer by reading 1 John 2:12.

Explain that this is one of God's "notes" to you and your child, and it’s worth remembering. Then help your child write or draw a summary of the verse on a sticky note.

Alternate Flight Plan: Options for Ages 8-12

Use the word "relationship" with older kids. Ask them what kind of relationship they like to have with a friend, with you, and with a sibling. What kind of relationship would they like to have with God?

Help them understand the kind of relationship God would like to have with them by looking at John 14:23-27 and John 15:14-16. Then ask them to summarize the verses on a sticky note or two.

3. Reentry: Bringing the Truth Home

What you need:

  • the sticky notes from your treasure hunt

Collect the "love note" clues from your treasure hunt. Let your child decide where to put them (on his or her bedroom door, the bathroom mirror, etc.) as a reminder that you and God love your child. The only rule: No more than three notes may be posted in any one room. That should help ensure that your child encounters the messages as often as possible.

4. Splashdown: Applying What You've Learned

What you need:

  • ice cubes
  • mitten or glove

Give your child an ice cube; see how long he or she can hold it before wanting to get rid of it because it's cold or messy. Then let your child wear a mitten or glove to warm up his or her hand.

Ask: Which does God want to be like to you — an ice cube that's cold and hard, or a mitten that's warm and protects you?

As needed, point out that God wants to be warm, close, and loving to the members of His family. That's why He invites us to join His family by believing in His Son, Jesus.

If your child hasn't responded to that invitation yet, ask whether he or she would like to do so now. If the answer is yes, you may want to lead your child in a prayer like this:

Dear God,

I know that without You I'm messed up. I know that I sin — I do things that are wrong and don't do things I should. You said You love me even though I’m still a sinner. Will You please forgive me and give me a new start?

I want You to be my heavenly Father. I believe Your Son, Jesus, died to pay the price for my sin and rose to life again. I accept Him as my Savior to rescue me, and as my Lord to be in charge of my life.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

If the answer is no, don't press. You may want to pray with your child, though, asking God to help him or her to discover the treasure of getting to know the One who loves us so much.

Space Snack

What you need:

  • a "treasure" snack (see below)

In keeping with the "treasure" theme, you may want to try one of the following treats:

  • foil-wrapped chocolate coins
  • any food that hides one ingredient inside another (celery sticks filled with peanut butter or cheese, cream-filled snack cakes, etc.)